The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

It was exciting to see and feel the enthusiasm, the joy, the optimism in the air at school today as staff and students alike returned after the extended break. There was certainly a heightened understanding and appreciation of the role relationships and friendships have in the wellbeing and happiness in our lives. There were no high fives, fist bumps or handshakes, but the body language and smiles said it all. The Dalai Lama says it more succinctly than I can:

“We human beings are social beings.  We come into the world as the result of others’ actions.  We survive here in dependence on others.  Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

The joy of today though is tempered with the realisation that for us to retain the status of being able to interact face-to-face we need to be extra diligent and vigilant about hygiene practices that reduce disease transmission. Whilst COVID-19 is front and centre and demands our attention right now, it will soon be flu season and lessons we have had amplified this past six weeks can hold us in great stead for the coming winter.

There are times such as when watching at the evening news that trying to find the good or the silver lining in something is somewhat of a challenge. One of the great outcomes I have experienced in the past month is the sense of community I have felt and noticed around me. Families with time to ride bikes together, young kids being pushed onto their first waves by mum or dad in the water with them, and dogs being walked everywhere, by everyone! The biggest highlight though has been talking across the verge to neighbours we most frequently just wave at. In the last four weeks we have celebrated a birth, a birthday, a death and Anzac Day as a street family, albeit in groups of less than ten and from at least 1.5m away. I have discovered an opera buff, a Mandarin speaker, a poet and a diehard Dockers supporter who believes this just might be their year, all living around me. Putting the bins out is not just another chore now, it is something to look forward to because of who I might see.

I have also had the importance of trust underlined for me. Trust that the government is giving me the best advice it possibly can at the time, trust in the teleconsult I had to have, trust that when the supermarkets say there will be enough to go around there will be, and trust the people I come in contact with are doing what I am doing; which is everything I can to remain healthy and make good decisions in my area of influence. We are social creatures, no doubt about it, but I cannot think of another more fundamental building block for a community to have than trust in the honest endeavour and integrity of the people within it.

The information and decisions around COVID-19 have and will continue to come at a fast pace as we work through the implications of this pandemic. We are definitely living through an event that will become a reference point in modern history. Thank you for the faith, the trust and the really positive messages you have given us about our school related decisions.